1683: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek writes a letter to the Royal Society describing "animalcules," the first known description of protozoa.
1787: The United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia.
1858: Dred Scott, an American slave who unsuccessfully sued for citizenship, dies from tuberculosis at the age of 62 or 63 in St. Louis, Mo.
1862: George B. McClellan halts the northward drive of Robert E. Lee's Confederate army in the single-day Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history. The Union had 12,401 casualties with 2,108 dead. Confederate casualties were 10,318 with 1,546 dead.
1862: The Allegheny Arsenal explosion near Pittsburgh results in the single largest civilian disaster during the American Civil War, leaving 78 workers dead. Pictured is a painting of the arsenal from 1814.
1872: The first U.S. patent for an automatic sprinkler system is issued to Philip W. Pratt, of Abington, Mass. The system was operated by means of a valve to which cords and fuses were attached. The cords held the valve closed with a spring-loaded lever. In case of a fire, when the fuses ignited, the cords burned, and the valve opened to release a stream of water. Water then flowed through overhead pivoted pipes that would revolve rapidly, throwing water in all directions to wet the ceiling, walls and floor.
1907: Warren Burger, who would go on to become the 15th chief justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1969 to 1986, is born in St. Paul, Minn.
1908: The Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright, with Lt. Thomas Selfridge as a passenger, crashes during a demonstration at Fort Myer in Arlington County, Va. Selfridge was thrown against one of the wooden uprights of the plane's framework in the crash, fracturing his skull. He underwent neurosurgery but died that evening without regaining consciousness, making him the first person to die in a crash of a powered airplane. Wright suffered severe injuries, including a broken left thigh, several broken ribs and a damaged hip, and was hospitalized for seven weeks.
ka 1916: Manfred von Richthofen (aka "The Red Baron"), a flying ace of the German Luftstreitkräfte, wins his first aerial combat near Cambrai, France. Richthofen would end up being considered the top ace of World War I, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories, more than any other pilot, before dying in combat less than two years later.
1923: Country music star Hank Williams, best known for such songs as "Lovesick Blues," "Honky Tonkin'" and "Your Cheatin' Heart," is born in Mount Olive, Butler County, Alabama.
1927: Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and placekicker George Blanda, one of only three players to play in four different decades, is born in Youngwood, Pa. Blanda played 26 seasons of professional football, the most in the sport's history, and had scored more points than anyone in history at the time of his retirement in 1976. He played for the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Colts, Houston Oilers and Oakland Raiders and holds the record for most extra points kicked.
1928: The Okeechobee Hurricane strikes southeastern Florida, killing upward of 2,500 people. It is the third deadliest natural disaster in United States history, behind the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
1928: Actor Roddy McDowall, best known for his roles as Cornelius and Caesar in the "Planet of the Apes" film series and as a child actor in movies such as "How Green Was My Valley," "My Friend Flicka" and "Lassie Come Home," is born in London, England.
1931: Actress Anne Bancroft, best known for movies such as "The Miracle Worker" and "The Graduate," is born in The Bronx, New York. She won one Academy Award, three BAFTA Awards, two Golden Globes, two Tony Awards and two Emmy Awards in her career.
1932: Author Robert B. Parker, best known for his crime novels about private detective Spenser, is born in Springfield, Mass. Parker's Spenser series of novels was developed the television series "Spenser: For Hire" in the 1980s. He also developed the character Jesse Stone, a troubled LAPD detective who becomes a police chief in a small New England town, who has been played by Tom Selleck in a series of TV movies.
1937: At Mount Rushmore, Abraham Lincoln's face is dedicated.
1937: Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman Orlando Cepeda, an 11-time All-Star who won a World Series title with St. Louis Cardinals in 1967, is born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He also won the NL MVP and lead the league in RBIs in 1967 and was named NL Rookie of the Year in 1958. Besides the Cardinals, he also played for the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals in his 17-year MLB career.
1939: German U-boat U-29 sinks the British aircraft carrier HMS Courageous off the coast of Ireland in the opening weeks of World War II. The ship capsized and sunk in 20 minutes with the loss of 519 of her crew, including her captain.
1939: David Souter, who would go on to become a Supreme Court justice from 1990 to 2009, is born in Melrose, Mass.
1945: NBA coach Phil Jackson, who led the Chicago Bulls to six world championships and won five more with the Los Angeles Lakers, is born in Deer Lodge, Mont.
1947: Jackie Robinson, who broke the MLB color barrier earlier in the season when he began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, is named Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News.
1948: Actor John Ritter, best known for the TV series "Three's Company" and "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," is born in Burbank, Calif. Ritter also appeared in movies such as "Problem Child," "Sling Blade" and "Bad Santa."
1949: A fire breaks out in a locked linen closet on board the Canadian steamship SS Noronic in the early morning hours while the ship is docked in Toronto Bay. Once the door was opened, the fire exploded and quickly spread down a hallway, fueled by the lemon-oil-polished wood paneling on the walls. By the time the fire was extinguished, more than 118 passengers had died, most from either suffocation or burns.
1951: Actress Cassandra Peterson, best known for her on-screen horror hostess character Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, is born in Manhattan, Kan.
1960: Puppeteer and voice actor Kevin Clash, best known for turning the "Sesame Street" character Elmo into a star and worldwide phenomenon, is born in Baltimore, Md. Clash has also worked in various productions for the Muppets and Jim Henson Productions and in other projects.
1961: The world's first retractable-dome stadium, the Civic Arena, opens in Pittsburgh. The arena featured a stainless steel dome, divided into eight sections, that could slide open in just three minutes. The main tenant of the arena, which was demolished over the course of nine months in 2011-2012, was the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.
1962: Film director Baz Luhrmann, known for the movies "Strictly Ballroom," "Romeo + Juliet," "Moulin Rouge!," "Australia" and "The Great Gatsby," is born Mark Anthony Luhrmann in Sydney, Australia.
1963: "The Fugitive," starring David Janssen as the falsely convicted Dr. Richard Kimble, premieres on TV. The show, which followed Dr. Kimble's search for the "one-armed man" who actually killed his wife, would last for 120 episodes over four seasons, with the second part of a two-part finale in 1967 becoming the most-watched television series episode at that time.
1964: The James Bond movie "Goldfinger," starring Sean Connery as the British spy, premieres in London, England. The movie was the third in the series and the first Bond blockbuster, with a budget equal to that of the two preceding films combined. Its $3 million budget was recouped in two weeks, and it broke box office records in multiple countries around the world, eventually making nearly $125 million.
1964: The TV sitcom "Bewitched" premieres. The show, which starred Elizabeth Montgomery as a witch who marries an ordinary man and tries to lead the life of a typical suburban housewife, would finish its first season as the No. 2 show in America and would run for eight seasons in total.
1965: The sitcom "Hogan's Heroes" debuts. The show, starring Bob Crane as Col. Robert E. Hogan, was set in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II and lasted six seasons.
1965: Actor Kyle Chandler, best known for his Emmy-winning role as Coach Eric Taylor in the TV series "Friday Night Lights," is born in Buffalo, N.Y. Chandler also starred in the movie "Super 8" and has had roles in the TV series "Early Edition" and "Grey's Anatomy."
1966: The espionage-themed TV show "Mission: Impossible" premieres. The show would last seven seasons and in the 1990s inspire the movie franchise starring Tom Cruise.
1972: The sitcom "M*A*S*H" premieres on TV. The show, which follows a team of doctors and support staff stationed at the "4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital" in Uijeongbu, South Korea, during the Korean War, struggled in its first season, but found an audience the following year and would last 11 seasons, nearly eight years longer than the actual war.
1975: NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, the only driver ever to win five straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, is born in El Cajon, Calif. Johnson won his titles from 2006 through 2010, also earning Driver of the Year honors each of those years except for 2008. He's also won the Daytona 500 two times, with victories in 2006 and 2013.
1976: The prototype space shuttle Enterprise is rolled out of its assembly facility in Southern California and displayed before a crowd of several thousand people. The Enterprise was built to perform test flights in the atmosphere and was constructed without engines or a functional heat shield, and was therefore not capable of spaceflight.
1978: The Camp David Accords are signed by Israel and Egypt following 13 days of secret negotiations.
1983: Vanessa Williams becomes the first black woman to win the title of Miss America. However, she would end up relinquishing her title early due to a scandal caused by Penthouse purchasing and publishing nude photos of her.
1984: Reggie Jackson of the California Angels hits his 500th career home run at Anaheim Stadium off Bud Black of the Kansas City Royals, exactly 17 years from the day he hit his first major-league home run.
1991: The albums "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II" are released simultaneously by Guns N' Roses.
1996: Spiro Agnew, who served as the 39th vice president of the United States from 1969 to 1973 under President Richard Nixon, dies of leukemia at age 77 in Berlin, Md. Agnew's time as vice president came to an end with his resignation in 1973 after pleading no contest to a federal income tax evasion charge, making him the only vice president in United States history to resign because of criminal charges.
1997: Actor and comedian Red Skelton dies from pneumonia at the age of 84 in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
2001: The New York Stock Exchange reopens for trading after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the longest closure since the Great Depression. Professional sporting events also resumed following a six-day hiatus after the attacks.
2002: Kelly Clarkson's first single "A Moment Like This" is released (as a double-A side single with "Before Your Love"). The song, which also appeared on Clarkson's first album, "Thankful," eventually topped the Billboard Hot 100.
2004: San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds hits his 700th career home run, joining Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755) as the only players to reach the milestone. He would finish his career in 2007 with a total of 762 home runs.
2006: Fourpeaked Mountain in Alaska erupts, marking the first eruption for the long-dormant volcano in at least 10,000 years.
2011: The Occupy Wall Street movement begins in New York City's Zucotti Park, with activists using the plaza as a campground and staging area for their protests throughout the Manhattan Financial District.